At the conclusion of this unit, resource students will be able to:
Identify location and basic function of lobes in the brain (cerebrum/cortex:
occipital, parietal, frontal, and temporal lobe; cerebellum, limbic system, and
Identify and explain several brain-based strategies for improving
Identify and explain activities that can disable the brain's ability to function
Students have very little exposure to any anatomy in the high school curriculum, except through the upper level science elective "Anatomy & Physiology." Just as there are certain novels that are accepted into the literary canon, basic knowledge of the brain is assumed in newspaper articles, by doctors, and by teachers. This unit is designed to provide students with a working vocabulary and basic understanding of how their own minds work, so that they can be more successful.
This unit will reflect the goals of Special Education in that it will present material at the students' instructional level, while helping them prepare them for the immediate academic challenges of high school. All Connecticut students take the Connecticut Academic Performance Test in March of their sophomore year. Though special education students can receive accommodations, such as extended time and alternate setting, many special education students do not pass and must retake the tests during their junior year. Embedded within the unit are skill-building exercises from the core curriculum areas such as assessing lab reports, identifying the hypothesis, independent variable, and controls, interpreting graphic representations, creating graphs of data, and analysis, comprehension of non-fiction reading materials, and interdisciplinary writing.
Preparing for Transition: Real-World Skills and Self-Advocacy
In the realm of special education, once a student reaches the age of 15, planning begins for the transition from a supported high school environment into a post-school job, school, or training program. There have been recent shifts in special education policy which have re-emphasized the role of high school personnel in transitioning a student. Although not all students are headed into a university program, I work to create a classroom of life-long learners. While students will be striving towards different goals, they all need support in developing knowledge of their own learning and how their own behavior can affect that learning. Central to this unit is developing students' self-knowledge. How do they learn best? What can they do to remember instruction? What can they learn about themselves as learners so that they can be more successful? The second half of this unit will provide students with biologically and research-based methods to improve their learning.
Adaptations for the Regular Classroom
Although this unit is designed to function in a special education setting, much of the material can be easily adapted for used in the regular education classroom. Parts of this unit may be appropriate for a Biology or Anatomy and Physiology course. One of the lessons included is for a CAPT interdisciplinary writing practice, which could be taught in a Social Studies course. Suggestions for the regular education setting include: increased pace, more challenging texts, independent reading, and homework assignments.